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Northern BC History Resources

Online Archival Material

Researchers often have an expectation that everything in an archives will be digital and accessible online. Although digitization is a significant priority for many archives, including Northern BC Archives, the opposite is the truth -- only a small percentage of archival holdings are available digitally and online. Physical archival holdings are massive in comparison and professional digitization is very expensive, very time consuming, and often comes with challenging rights issues. Only a few (very well funded) archives across the world have the ability and intention to fully digitize their holdings.

What does that mean for you, as a researcher seeking primary sources about Northern BC history?

  • The primary sources you are hoping to access will likely not be digitized or online. You will probably need to visit an archives in person in order to access them.
  • If you only require a small amount of archival material, the archives may be able to digitize it for you on request. There may be costs involved. It may be some time until your requested digitization is complete.
  • If you only rely on existing digitized primary sources to inform your research, you will likely miss out on a significant amount of information and context that can only be obtained by seeking out and using original primary sources.

We have listed a few online resource portals below that include digitized archival and rare publications relating to Northern BC. Other digitized archival primary sources can be found by searching the online databases of individual archives with Northern BC holdings.

Northern BC Digital Collection

                            The Northern BC Digital Collection, a digital initiative of UNBC Library's Northern BC Archives & Special Collections, provides access to digitized publications pertaining to Northern BC history, culture, and industrial development.

Includes rare books, reports, pamphlets, maps, newspapers, and more.

UBC Open Collections

UBC Open Collections, a digital initiative of the UBC Library, include digital photos, books, newspapers, maps, videos, theses and more. These locally-created digital collections document a diverse range of people and places, activities and events, and serve as a resource for students, historians, genealogists, and other researchers. Most of this content has been digitized from material held at the Library, including Rare Books & Special Collections (RBSC). RBSC acquires archival materials which document the economic, political, cultural, labour, and literary history of British Columbia and Canada as well as the history of UBC. Archival material which is born digital or digitized is included in Open Collections.